scrap pad

powerbook battery

just bought a new battery for my PowerBook (G4 Aluminum 15). Even with a sale and a coupon code from Daring Fireball ("SMJAJ1DF", good on cpu upgrades and batteries through 10/6/07), after shipping it's only $10 cheaper than a battery from Apple. whatever.

mailing a bike

How To Box and Ship a Bicycle. I'll be doing this soon, possibly even next week.

what is a "fraud alert"?

a flag you get put on your credit file. It lasts for 90 days; when someone tries to open a new line of credit, the creditor is asked to call you and get confirmation. It also takes you off the list for pre-approved credit and insurance offers for two years. (Fraud Alert - Learn How)

meteor shower

there's supposed to be a pretty significant meteor shower visible on the west coast tonight: Aurigids, August 31/September 1, 4:15-5 AM. via uncertain principles.

bulk rename

Renamer4Mac - mac os x application for renaming files. via lifeclever.


Using Deconstruction to Astonish Friends & Confound Enemies (in 2 easy steps). (description of deconstruction structured as a how-to). via I-forget-who.

hike planning

California hikes - well illustrated descriptions of hikes in Lassen, Yosemite, Tahoe, and other places in California.

new book hate

A Reader's Manifesto at The Atlantic - cutting the current literature scene down a notch (or three). validating because I hated Snow Falling on Cedars and generally avoid the best-seller list. via I-forget-who.

looking for a duck

bird search - identify North American birds by characteristic.


The Wall Street Journal on the awesomeness of LOLcats. via anil dash.


omitting the alt attribute (for semantic reasons). at the WAHTWG blog.


Pita recipe. This recipe tells you how to make the pitas on the stovetop, which I've decided I prefer because it's cooler than opening the oven all the time, plus you get to watch them.

bulk falafel mix

fantastic foods falafel mix should be mixed: 3/4 c. boiling water + 1 c. falafel mix; let sit 15 minutes. supposedly this should make about 5 servings.


Skull-A-Day: a skull made from something new every day (shells, potatoes, cassette tapes, sparklers, etc.) also, there is a blog called "bent objects" that is full of small wire things; there's a cute one of McDonalds stuff. now I kind of want a scroll saw (jigsaw on a bench thing).

iPhone unlocked

The iPhone Has Been Unlocked - InformationWeek.

weird animals

awesome/weird animals; duck-billed platypusses are poisonous and have 10 sex chromosomes, some linked to mammals and some linked to birds. via jeff croft. doesn't include any insects. (insect discrimination!)

revised list of things to do before leaving sacramento

  • make a short film noir
  • do a midnight bike mission
  • go to Old Soul for coffee (multiple times!)
  • be up and about in the city early once or twice (combine with Old Soul?)

insanely high iso

daring fireball quoted an article on the Nikon D3, a ~$5,000 DSLR camera coming out in September, has a maximum ISO of 25,600. This made me go "holy fuck holy fuck" and explain ISO to my roommate.

sweet image processing

Image Resizing Technique - resizes photos by removing or adding to less important parts of an image first. awesome video: all the cool factor, none of the reading. paper here.

other fascinating photo manipulation paper: Scene Completion, on replacing parts of photos using a large image library. via evan.

twitter badge

yet another twitter badge - twitter balloon. It puts your latest twitter in a speech bubble on a photo. my badge is 320x280 badge (the photo scales to 320x240, plus 40px height for the bars).

follow becw at
developed by korelab

bike punk rock

saw a bicycle dance troupe last night, the B.C. Clettes, who did a routine to the New Kings' song Street Fighter: "Every turn of the wheel is a revolution." Ok.

bike polo

Bike Polo Competition Dublin 2006 - youtube.

bike rap

Bike Refugee - youtube.

another pie eating contest photo

Chad Vader

Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager - short video series.

mmm bugs

bugs in candy at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

inclusionary housing - jerk's uninformed opinion

this makes me sick: Inclusionary Housing is Sociological Suicide. via my coworker darryl. ben says: "you gotta not let weirdo conservatives rattle you."

win vs. mac font rendering, more

Font rendering philosophies of Windows and Mac OS X. via df. Windows scales type differently horizontally than vertically.

pie eating contest

four of us went to the San Mateo County Fair yesterday (Sunday) and entered a pie eating contest. It was us four adults and one little girl. Christine's picture is in the paper. the pie crust was really good, but the filling was non-dairy custard... I super-dislike custard.

slug picture

from my friend/coworker cristina's facebook photos.

how to sell fruit trees

Golden Rhino Horn, Brazilian Dwarf (look for the ninja), Jamaican Red Dwarf. via megan, who has more links.

"Soap kills using physics."

Plain soap as effective as antibacterial plus bacteria can develop resistance to it. via slashdot. also, this comment is good.


I mentioned it before, but I want to see this documentary on Nollywood and "subsistence film making". (link to trailer) (movie)

photoshop tennis

Photoshop Tennis is coming back on Friday, September 14.

DRM daydream

Google is closing their online video store tomorrow. In my daydream-world, Google is closing it specifically to make a point, and whatever revenue they might have earned from the service, the opportunity to bring up the implications of DRM is way more valuable.

By picking up its marbles and going home, Google just demonstrated how completely bizarre and anti-consumer DRM technology can be. Most importantly, by pulling the plug on the service, Google proved why consumers have to be allowed to circumvent copy controls.

website hate

For the record, I hate BuzzFeed ( Every time I've ever clicked through there, I've come away offended and angry. Every item there is by either an intentional asshole or an oblivious asshole. So what if I'm a humorless dork hating on mainstream so-called humor. *hate hate hate*

rotating pdfs

Rotate single PDF pages in Mac OS X's Preview by holding down the option key before clicking the rotate button. via stevenf links.

image replacement question

so, I've played with image replacement before, but now I'm going to use my brain:

The designer specifies, through CSS, that the image will display in most cases; if it should not display for some reason, the underlying structural HTML markup is supposed to take its place.


The advantages here are a nice graphical appearance most of the time and markup somewhat more elegant than <h1><img alt=""></h1>, which is pretty much your only alternative if, say, you want to use a picture of text as a headline. Because it does not nest an image inside a heading, FIR is at least superficially better for accessibility.

(from a list apart on a CSS image replacement technique)

HTML already has a mechanism for accessible image replacement, and everybody knows about it! Isn't this the stated purpose of alt text? How is adding an extra, empty <span> "more elegant"? Is alt text not indexed by search engines? (wait, it is) Will screen readers deal more predictably with a series of hacked-up CSS image replacement techniques than with something that is part of the HTML spec? Is it better to fail unpredictably than to have a consistent behavior across browsers? Also, why aren't screen-reader makers a prominent part of the web-standards discussion? (Or are they?)</rant>

Serious responses considered.

content and presentation separation

The myth of content and presentation separation (via simon willison):

1. Non-semantic class name hurt nothing.


3. We were never, ever going to redesign our sites without changing the (X)HTML. It’s a nice thought, but it’s also a total pipe dream.

Of course the HTML is going to change in a redesign; any redesign should involve a rethinking of the content as well as the visual design. But using non-semantic class names (ie, span-4) is like naming variables $string1. It gives no reference points for scanning the code, it is ten times harder to reuse styles, and it requires unnecessary changes in markup: decent markup should be reusable, in part if not in whole, within any new design.

update: response! I did misunderstand the meaning of a class named span-4: in the Blueprint CSS framework, the span-4 class denotes an element that spans 4 columns, so it contains visually meaningful information. I maintain that a website redesign automatically includes redesigning the content, and therefore HTML, of a site, so saying that a redesign will require changes to HTML markup is no surprise. Also, that attaching span-2 to HTML elements (or the CMS code that generates those elements) doesn't foster reusability. On the other hand, it's no obstacle to me using Blueprint at some point in the future :)

saturday morning video

baby got back, musical style. via uncertain principles.


tried baked cashew-date mochi last night. preliminary conclusion: hippie after-school snack. there are recipes using mochi on the company's website; the traditional Japanese way to make mochi for dessert is to boil it and roll it in roasted soy flour.

local awareness

how much do you know about the geography and environment of the place you live? via my roommate megan, circuitously.

amazon urls

Amazon URLs suck. I mean, really: 7604716?ie=UTF8&coliid=I10UWR971KW6O0&colid=VEGJQQ07FZ30

you can get another URL for the same book with via search: /ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-2392437-7604716?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1186782539&sr=8-1

but actually, you don't need a lot of the cruft:

and that's an arbitrary label in there:

Descriptive URLs are super useful, but kind of lose meaning when their function is so superficial.

greedy regexes

PCRE: Ungreedy matching.


strong (neodymium) magnets. didn't know they were so cheap! 25 1cm diameter magnets for $4.55.

ui speculation on a thing I haven't used

df on Clipboard and Text Selection on the iPhone. to heck with cut/copy/paste; there should be a Quicksilver-like "act on this" idea. the idea is already in at least one iphone app: in the photos app, there's a button that gives you the option to take action with the photo (email/set as background/assign to contact).

bike seat

even though it has gel in it, I'm really tempted to get this in red: Selle Italia women's saddle.


Minesweeper: The Movie. via defective yeti links, I think.

browser-based syntax highlighting

CodePress - Real Time Syntax Highlighting Editor written in JavaScript. wow.

new imacs, ilife, iwork

Apple event coverage with pictures @ Engadget. (was live coverage)

js resources

came across's excellent javascript resources via the page on javascript event properties while playing with the <canvas> tag/JS class this week. Apple's canvas class reference is useful but somewhat obtuse; see also mozilla developer center's Canvas tutorial.


"assertiveness training" sounds pretty fluffy but on the other hand this list of "rights" is pretty awesome:

You have the right to...

  1. judge your own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
  2. offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behaviour.
  3. judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people's problems.
  4. change your mind.
  5. make mistakes - and be responsible for them.
  6. say 'I don't know'.
  7. be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.
  8. be illogical in making decisions.
  9. say 'I don't understand'.
  10. say 'I don't care'.

from h2g2's page on Assertiveness and Assertiveness Training, via ben.

CSS Framework

Blueprint: A CSS Framework. eh, frameworks for everything. via ben.

to do before I leave sacramento

  • hold a parade
  • produce a short film noir
  • ...

chewy ice cream

from the curious cook NYT column:

I made an ice cream that flaunts its additive content by putting one tablespoon of guar gum in a quart of sweetened milk and cream, blending the mix until it thickened, and freezing it in a bowl along with a large wooden spoon. When the spoon was almost immobilized, I used it to work the mix until it developed some elasticity — and until my arm gave out, well short of 20 minutes. The ice cream was substantial and chewy, a cross between an extremely dense custard and a fine-grained pudding.

guar gum or Japanese konjac flour work similar ways in this recipe.


who I am